'30 Teams in 30 Days' 2015-2016 NBA Season Preview: #21 Boston Celtics

By Rob Perez
Sep 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
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  • Odds to win the 2015-2016 NBA Championship: 125:1
  • 2014-2015 Record: 40-42 (Defeated by Cleveland, East Quarterfinals).
    • 2015 Draft Results:
      • Terry Rozier, University of Louisville (16th Overall)
      • RJ Hunter, Georgia State Univeristy (28th Overall)
      • Jordan Mickey, LSU (33th Overall)
      • Juan Vaulet, Argentina (39th Overall)
      • Marcus Thornton, William & Mary (45th Overall)
    • Key Offseason Additions: David Lee, Amir Johnson
    • Key Offseason Losses: Brandon Bass
  • Projected Starting Lineup:
  • Player Salaries:
  • Season in Review:

The Good:

The Bad:

  • Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller’s rookie contracts expire after this season
  • The “best” player on the team (22.3 Player Efficiency Rating) is Isaiah Thomas, who has the worst defensive box score plus/minus on the entire roster (-3.9)

The Ugly:

  • Danny Ainge is still the general manager of the franchise’s basketball operations and player personnel

…And drafted Terry Rozier when the roster has about six players point guard/shooting guard combos on it already + Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant, and Sam Dekker were still all available?

  • Baseless God Wob

I had to do this Good/Bad/Ugly in bullet point form because I admittedly have absolutely no clue what this Boston Celtics team is, was, or will be. Here’s what we do know: Brad Stevens, like he has done his entire career in both the college ranks and now the pros, is single-handily re-defining the term “Overachievement”. He has a roster of players that have absolutely NO BUSINESS sniffing the playoffs, yet, he’s able to squeeze every drop of talent out of his guys and parlay it into results unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

I realize the Eastern Conference stunk last season, but, how the hell did this team make the playoffs?

A couple of reasons: pace pace and some more pace. The one benefit of Danny Ainge drafting/signing/trading for every uber-athletic combo guard under the sun is that Brad Stevens is able to implement a “just never stop running” philosophy – evident by the fact that THIRTEEN Celtics last season averaged more than 20 minutes played per game … thirteen! In addition: when your starting big man is 6’9” tall, you have one option for success: beat the opposing big man … who is likely a lot bigger than you … down the floor.

The Celtics did just that.

During the 2014-2015 season: Boston recorded the league’s 5th fastest style of play, averaging 95.8 offensive possessions per 48 minutes. I do question, however, the effectiveness of this strategy: as the Celtics averaged 101.4 Points Per Game (13th best in the NBA) while their Offensive Rating (Points Per 100 Possessions) was 104.7, only 18th best. All of these numbers tell me that they are indeed running their asses off, but, they’re just not entirely efficient at it.

So here’s what I make of all this: this upcoming season, they have no choice but to continue this “never stop” philosophy. Similar to last year’s playoff series vs. Cleveland, they are absolutely worthless in the half-court and/or when the game slows down. They don’t have the talent nor the big men to win an ugly, grind-it-out kind of contest. I feel like the Celtics got lucky last season, always going up against teams who didn’t feel like matching their intensity that night — but, don’t let that deter you from their accomplishments: they create their own luck. NBA players take games off physically and mentally all the time – not in Boston. You can’t teach energy, and it’s a testament to Brad Stevens’ coaching prowess that he’s able to get these guys to play like it’s the NBA Finals every night.

Prediction time: Can Brad Stevens brew up another year’s worth of his dark voodoo magic to get this WTF Boston Celtics roster into the playoffs? I don’t think so; with the stars aligning in Miami, the return of Paul George in Indiana, and the Knicks fielding a playoff-worthy roster — the East is significantly better than last season, and this will be a setback year for the Celtics franchise in dire need of progress. This league adapts to success so quickly – and I’m not sure how much longer ‘effort’ will be solely responsible for producing results. Don’t forget: Brad’s track record of making people think “How on Earth is this team here?” says differently – thus, you won’t see me running to the window to bet against him anytime soon.

  • 2015-2016 Season Projection:
    • 37-45 Record
    • 9th Place in East
    • Playoff Prediction: No Playoffs
  • Fan Mindset, as told by Hollywood:
    • Rudy, Rudy
  • Baseless God Wob’s 3 Divine Questions:
  • What exactly was the purpose of trading for David Lee and Amir Johnson?
  • Why is Evan Turner still a thing?
  • Should Marcus Smart move to shooting guard full time?

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OTHER NBA SEASON PREVIEWS/PRESEASON RANKINGS:

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